Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan


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He expected the Soviet advance deep into Manchuria would induce the Chinese to make concessions for fear that the Soviet influence in Manchuria would lead to the establishment of a communist regime in Manchuria. He won the gamble. The Chinese finally came around to an agreement on August 15, three hours after Japan announced its unconditional acceptance of the Potsdam terms. Stalin was especially anxious to capture the strategic ports of Dairen and Port Arthur, and ordered Malinovskii to complete their occupation by August Since southern Sakhalin was a part of the territory to be given to the Soviets in the Yalta Secret Agreement, the United States did not raise any objections.

If capturing southern Sakhalin was the main purpose, there was no reason for Soviet haste. The major goal of the Sakhalin landing, however, was to use Southern Sakhalin, only 40 kilometers from Hokkaido at the closest point, as a springboard from which to launch the Kuril and Hokkaido operations.

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When the military leaders discussed the zones of military operations at the Potsdam Conference, the entire Kurils, except for the northernmost four islands, were given to the American zone. The Americans, however, did not realize that the Soviets had also acquired the right to capture the Kurils since the Sea of Okhotsk was recognized as a Soviet operation zone. Iumashev, commander of the Pacific Fleet, to occupy the northern parts of the Kurils without expecting any reinforcement from other fronts.

Purkaev in turn told Major General A. Taking advantage of this favorable situation, seize Shimushu, Paramushiru, and Onekotan. Inevitably many mistakes were made, and they led to disastrous results during the attack on Shimushu. Without knowing how the United States would react to the Soviet Kuril operation, Stalin had to be cautious.

By including Onekotan, he would be able to test the American reaction. If he met with opposition from the Americans, he would retreat. If not, he would expand operations in the central and southern Kurils. The battle of Shimushu was waged for four days from August 18 to August 21, although Gnechko was ordered to capture the island by the end of August If the Soviets won despite all these weaknesses, it was because the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, horrified by the specter of victory, in no uncertain terms, ordered the defending Japanese division to surrender.

This order designated the Allied forces to which Japanese armed forces should surrender. On the next day, Stalin sent his reply through Harriman as well as Gromyko in Washington.

Stalin instructed Derevianko to present Soviet demands to include the Kurils and the northern part of Hokkaido in the Soviet occupation zone. In addition, Derevianko was to demand the creation of a Soviet occupation zone for stationing Soviet troops in Tokyo. Hokkaido was a part of Japan proper, and he was not going to let Stalin have it. He was dead serious about capturing Hokkaido. It should be recalled that he had remained non-committal regarding Hokkaido, when the Politburo debated this issue on June Shortly before he wrote his August 16 letter to Truman, he ordered Vasilevskii to implement the Hokkaido and southern Kuril operation.

For this operation three divisions of the 87 th Rifle Corps would be deployed: two divisions for the Hokkaido operation, and one division for the southern Kuril operation.

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The commanders of the First and Second Far Eastern Fronts, the Pacific Fleet, and the air force were ordered to be ready for airborne operations over Rumoi and to make the air base available by August 23 for the occupation of the northern part of Hokkaido. In addition, Iumashev was to send two marine divisions in two or three echelons to Hokkaido. Finally, Vasilevskii reminded all commanders that he would personally give the order to begin the landing operations for Hokkaido, and that preparations for this operation should be completed by August He accused Truman of demanding airbase rights on the Kurils, which he claimed as the inherent Soviet territory.

Was Stalin really angry or was this anger merely a diplomatic ploy? It was most likely both.

This delay might be related to the progress of military preparations, Soviet intelligence with regard to the American determination to protect Hokkaido, or to the advice of those who argued — Molotov, for instance — that the occupation of Hokkaido might jeopardize the Yalta terms. Stalin had not yet cancelled the Hokkaido operation, but he was retreating from it. It also sealed the fate of , Japanese prisoners of war captured by the Soviet forces. Since Stalin had counted on some portion of the population of Hokkaido to work in the Gulags of the Soviet Far East, he needed the POW labor force to make good his loss.

Byrnes was in no mood to challenge Stalin over the Kurils. Navy Assistant Chief Charles Cooke, and Army Assistant Chief John Hull had two telephone conversations on August 23, and agreed that neither the Kurils nor the American airbase rights there were important enough to sacrifice the lives of American soldiers.

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The United States would not lift a finger when the Soviets seized the islands. He wrote a reply on August 25, but the message was not delivered to Stalin until August What we do know is that these five days were crucial for the Soviet southern Kuril operation. Now it was necessary to back off. He sent his reply to Truman on August He agreed to grant the landing rights to the United States on one of the Kuril islands in emergency cases during the Allied occupation of Japan, and even grant an airfield for landing commercial planes.

But in return, he expected the United States to provide an American airfield for Soviet commercial planes on one of the Aleutian Islands. Needless to say, there was no commercial airline in the Soviet Union at that time, so this was also a ploy. The timing of this response is also important. The three days between the two letters brought the Soviet operations further south in the Kurils. By September 1, the Soviet forces had occupied Etorofu.

But the Soviet forces had not completed the occupation of the rest of the Kurils. Kunashiri was not captured until September 3. From there the Soviets proceeded to occupy Shikotan and the Habomai group, which historically, administratively, and geographically belonged to Japan, and should have been in the American occupation zone. The occupation of all the Kurils was not completed until September 5, three days after the Pacific War was officially over. At the Yalta Conference, Stalin scored a diplomatic victory by having Roosevelt and Churchill offer him prizes in exchange for Soviet participation in the war three months after the capitulation of Germany.

But in order to gain these war trophies, he had to enter the war, and conclude an agreement with the Chinese confirming the Yalta conditions. A number of problems confronted him in pursing this policy.


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First, he had to justify the violation of the Neutrality Pact with Japan. In April , Molotov renounced the Pact, but made it clear that the Pact would be in force until April Nevertheless, there still remained the major problem of waging war against Japan in violation of the Neutrality Pact. And the negotiations with the Chinese were deadlocked. But most importantly, Stalin expected, as he had been promised by Hopkins in May that the United States and Britain would invite the Soviet Union to sign the joint ultimatum against Japan.

They encouraged the Chinese to stand firm to drag on the negotiations, and the American delegation at Potsdam totally excluded the Soviet Union from the deliberations of the Potsdam Proclamation. Nevertheless, even Stalin could not convince the Stavka to change the carefully planned military operation against Japan, which was scheduled to commence on August 11 on all fronts. The US dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, however, shocked Stalin. He believed that the game was over. But the Japanese request to seek Soviet mediation immediately revived his hope.

He changed the date of the attack by forty-eight hours to August 9, and had Molotov read the declaration of war one hour before the Soviet attack. The Hokkaido-Kuril operation began hastily. In order to prevent the Soviets from obtaining a slice of Hokkaido, however, Truman had to sacrifice the Kurils, although he knew that the islands, or at least some of them, should belong to Japan.

In the process, however, he alienated the Japanese by seizing what the Japanese believed to be their own legitimate islands by violating the Neutrality Pact, especially when the Japanese were desperately seeking his mediation. He pursued his goals ruthlessly employing Machiavellian manipulations. But so did Truman.

Book Discussion - Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan

The atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not the first salvo of the Cold War, as the revisionist historians claim, but contributed to the exacerbation of Soviet-American relations, preparing the ground for the transition from the Grand Alliance to the Cold War. Safronov, Voina na Tikhom okeane M.

For this, see the books and articles cited in note 1, especially Hasegawa, ed. For bibliography of the Neutrality Pact, see ibid. Idena v Moskvu v dekabre g. Stalinym i V. Vasilevskii, Delo vsei zhizni M. Prior to the Yalta Conference, George Blakeslee recommended that Japan retain the southern Kurils, but that the northern and the central Kurils should be placed under Soviet trusteeship. Russian historian G. If this information is correct, Stalin had access to the Yalta papers through his spy, possibly in the State Department. Sekretariat V.

Molotova, op. This is a summary based on the Magic Intercepts. Slavinskii also interprets, as I do, that Molotov was engaged in deception. Cherevko, Serp i molot protiv samuraiskogo mecha M. AVP RF f. Also see Document report of the Tokyo rezidentura Velikaia otechestvennaia , vol. Truman Library. For the Russian version, see Documents , , Sovetsko-Amerikanskie otnosheniia , vol.

The American version, however, makes it clear that it was Stalin, not Hopkins, who initially raised the question of unconditional surrender. Part of the conversation is omitted in the Russian version. Documentary and archival evidence on the decision making process at the highest level is woefully lacking.

Hopkins said he thought at the next meeting of the three heads of Government all these matters should be discussed. This is based on retired Colonel D. Belorusov, then the Chief of Staff of the Transbaikal Front, who participated in the meeting. This account is repeated in Slavinskii, Pakt , ; B. Miasnikov, ed. Truman New York: Harper and Row, , Charles G. This I was able to get from Stalin in the very first days of the conference. On July 21, the U. Leahy asked General Antonov to provide an outline of the Soviet plan of action against Japan.

Antonov was operating under the assumption that the Americans needed Soviet entry into the war, and for that reason, he expressed the wish that the Allies would exert pressure on the Chinese to come to an agreement with the Soviet Union. I am sure they will when Manhattan appears over their homeland. Also Byrnes told Churchill that he cabled to Soong and told him to keep firm on negotiations. Gromyko, Memoirs New York: Doubleday, , That Stalin immediately understood that Truman was talking about the atomic bomb is also confirmed by Georgii Zhukov and Molotov.

Zhukov, Vospominaniia i razmyhshleniia , vol. Chuev, Sto sorok besed s Molotovym M. How soon did Stalin believe the Americans were going to use the atomic bomb against Japan? If one takes into consideration that Soviet intelligence misjudged the timing of the Alamogordo test, it is more likely that Stalin did not have the information that the Americans were so close to using the atomic bomb. Eden to Mr. Pelly, eds. Rowan to Sir E. James F. Byrnes Papers, Clemson University. No original copy of the Potsdam Proclamation was kept.

Byrnes Papers. Also see Robert H. Ferrell, ed. Ayers Columbia: University of Missouri Press, , This document was first introduced by Viacheslav P. For further references on this issue, ibid, , endnotes 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, and Article stated that if there was a conflict between the obligations of the members of the United Nations and their obligations under any international agreement, their obligations to the United Nations Charter should take precedence.

These two orders appointed Meretskov and Purkaev.

Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan - Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - Google книги

When Malinovskii was officially appointed as the commander of the Transbaikal Front cannot be ascertained. Svetlana writes that Stalin was preoccupied on the day after the bombing of Hiroshima. They told him that the Americans had dropped the first atomic bomb over Japan. Everyone was busy with that, and my father paid hardly any attention to me. I contend that her descriptions are a better fit with the circumstances for August 7, after Stalin learned that Japan had not surrendered despite the atomic bombing on Hiroshima.

How Stalin reacted to the news of the Hiroshima bomb cannot be ascertained until further archival materials become available. Gaigo shiryo: Nisso gaiko kosho kiroku no bu , For U. Slavinskii, Sovetskaia okkupatsiia , Only in the second draft was the request for airbase rights added. ABC, Japan , 15 Fe. The U. Ironically, the Soviets were determined to take Dairen, but had no intention to cross the 38 th parallel. Truman Library; Stalin to Truman, 22 Aug. No archival sources are found on such conversations. The Soviet Union and the international context between and He revised and updated the original book, reevaluating the role of the liberals as active participants in the revolution.

He has embarked on new research on a social history of the Russian Revolution, focusing on crime, police, and mob justice. Recent Russo-Japanese relations are the second area where Hasegawa has done research. The third area of research Hasegawa has conducted is an international history involving the Soviet Union, the United States, and Japan in ending the Pacific War. Truman 's underlying objective was showcasing US military might, as a deterrent to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin 's ambitions. According to Australian historian Geoffrey Jukes: "[Hasegawa] demonstrates conclusively that it was the Soviet declaration of war, not the atomic bombs, that forced the Japanese to surrender unconditionally.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa. Retrieved 1 March Univ of Washington Pr — via Amazon. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press. The Guardian. Retrieved

Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan

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